Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What to Eat For Breakfast When You Can't Eat Eggs, Dairy or Grains

While I've been feeling a lot better with my new dietary restrictions, I've had to make a lot of adjustments - physically and mentally.

Breakfast became a big problem for me after I was told I had an allergy to eggs. I had eaten eggs for breakfast every single day for the last God-knows-how-many-years (at least 3?) Eggs were fast, easy and filling. Now I had to figure out what to eat in the mornings since I couldn't eat  dairy (yogurt smoothies) grains (cereal/oatmeal) and eggs.

Matt and I came up with a very adjustable, customizable "breakfast casserole" recipe that I make a couple of times a week. It takes me a good 2 or more hours to make (lots of washing, peeling, cutting, etc) which is a pain, but it makes a large enough amount to last me several days, which makes it well worth it. The casserole also tastes like a real breakfast meal, even though it's just fruit, veggies and meat. It's been a lifesaver to me.


1 lb. sugar free breakfast sausage (you can substitute any ground meat)
2 very large sweet potatoes
2 apples (you can substitute with pears or berries)
1 red onion
1 large bell pepper
(Optional ingredients: baby spinach, butternut squash, kale...anything goes.)

Preheat oven to 400F

Brown sausage until well done.

Peel sweet potatoes and cut into small bite size cubes, place in 9X13 glass baking dish.

Peel apples and cut into bite size pieces and place in baking dish.

Finely chop onion and pepper and add to baking dish. 

Add salt and pepper to fruit and vegetables; mix.

Evenly distribute sausage on top of everything else in the baking dish. (If you want to add kale or spinach, I usually layer these on top of the sausage.) 

Cover with tinfoil and let bake for 45 minutes.

After the 45 minutes, remove tinfoil and let bake uncovered an additional 15 minutes.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

And It Feels Like the First Day of Spring

We had the best weather this weekend, and spent a lot of time enjoying it outdoors.

The change in the weather seemed to bring a palpable change to the whole city. We walked a long time around downtown Holland Saturday morning, and it seemed like people everywhere were bustling, rushing to get the streets looking their best for the big Tulip Time festival (which starts next weekend.) College students were laying out on blankets around Hope College's campus, studying for finals week and soaking up the sun. All the restaurants and coffee shops had their outdoor seating out and everyone just seemed extra happy and excited.

We spent Saturday afternoon at Tunnel Park, which was surprisingly quiet in spite of the warm weather. The sun felt so, so good. The kids love being at the lake, and even though it's quite a job cleaning the sand off everyone at the end of a beach trip, it's totally worth it for how much they enjoy it.

Better late than never, spring time! Hope you're here to stay a while!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Currently [And Some April Favorites]

Can you believe it's Friday again already? The weeks just seem to be flying lately for me!

I haven't done one of these in a long time, but felt in the mood for it today.

Eating: Pretty boring-ly. Mostly vegetables, fruit, sweet potatoes and beef. I did try these muffins, with a few tweaks of my own (more about that later maybe) and they were really nice! I have to say I am still really missing my eggs. However, my body feels really great, and I am thankful.
Drinking: My new favorite drink is a Starbucks shaken Green Zen tea, unsweetened. It's so refreshing. I am also liking the occasional soy cappuccino when we go out for breakfast. (I know, I know - soy isn't good. But it's one of the few things I'm actually not allergic to, and it makes a pretty dang acceptable capp, so just leave me be!) :)
Wishing: For a streak of gorgeous days, rather than just one for every 6 days we get of cold, rainy weather. Thankfully the latest forecast seems to indicate I will get my wish - this coming weekend is shaping up to be a beautiful one!
Dreaming: of traveling. I've was thinking a bit this week about how at one (brief) time a few years ago, Matt and I were seriously thinking of moving to Hawaii temporarily, just to experience something totally foreign to us. (Weird that we ended up in MI instead. It's about as opposite of HI as you can get haha.) We still think about Hawaii a lot and would love love love to visit one day. Future second honeymoon maybe?
Loving: (Get ready for a lot of links)

These books for little ones! I'd love this whole entire set! Brilliant.

Have you heard of Printic yet? This is something I am definitely going to start using soon.

I've been a huge fan of Emily Martin's for years, and her new postcard set is just lovely.

I found this video to be so, so cool. This one too! Get your kids to watch them with you! 

Revisiting what we imagined 21st century technology would be, way back in the 1990s. (Some of it's pretty close to the truth! And then some of it is just hilarious.)

Want some pretty free printables to hang on your walls? Well here you go.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: best sweatshirts ever! And a couple of them are on super sale! (P.S: I find they run large, consider ordering a size down from your norm.)

Jenni's blogging challenge for May sounds like a lot of fun, and I think I'm going to join in! I think the variety of topics will be good for stirring up some creativity in my writing. I get stuck in "uninspired" ruts often, even though I love to write.

Katie's tips for successfully going gluten free. I liked this because she hits on a lot of things that many people (with good intentions for going gluten free) don't realize, and that keep them from success. 

I think I mentioned these before, but they're worth posting again: $15 colored ankle-skinnies. I have them in red (sadly no longer available online) and black and they are the perfect weight/length for spring! They have some fun spring colors still in stock - jump on this!

Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

All My Pear-Shaped Ladies!

I never ever ever ever thought I would ever ever ever have anything (everrr) nice to say about Wal-Mart. But guys. Wal-Mart has done something wonderfully right. And it's a bathing suit, of all things!

Since I live in a beach town now, and summer is (albeit slowly) approaching, bathing suits have been on my mind. I needed one that would simultaneously cover up my post-partum uglies and nicely accentuate the better parts of my pear-shaped body. (That was the most awkward sentence ever!) I knew I wanted a retro, Esther Williams style suit, but they are really expensive (exhibit A and exhibit B.) 

I don't know what I was thinking, but a few weeks ago I looked at Wal-Mart's online swim shop and found these suits! I mean, they look just like the ones from Mod Cloth, but at a fraction of the price. The suits had hundreds of good reviews online, that I read through thoroughly. I then took a deep breath and ordered the striped one.

It came in today and all I can say is, wow. Seriously. Best fitting bathing suit I've ever owned. Good quality fabric, pretty ruching, good coverage without being prudish. And it comes in a wide variety of super cute patterns and colors. (And I'm very sorely tempted to order a few more of them!)

If you're looking for a retro style swimsuit but don't want to spent $$$ for one, I'd recommend giving these a try! I mean, at $33, you can't go wrong, right? 

P.S. I found the swimsuit to be true to size. Make sure to peek at the sizing chart before ordering!

Frederik Meijer Gardens [Part 2]

Just a few more photos from our trip to the Frederik Meijer Gardens.
This place is so beautiful. Besides the conservatory, they have art and sculptures and gorgeous grounds.
We will definitely be going back.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What Men See In the Mirror...

I shared this video a few days ago.

Well, this one is even better. I'm still laughing.

Yesterday We Lived

Yesterday was warm. And so sunny.
I've been needing warmth and sun pretty badly.
I was determined that we not waste a second of such a perfect, glorious day.

So as soon as we finished breakfast Olive, Silas and I took a long walk around Lake Mac.
And then we played at the park until we were all starving for lunch.
And then while Silas napped, I taught Olive about hopscotch all afternoon.
And then Matt took off from work a little early and we did this...

This picture does not do the view from Laketown Beach's dune any justice.
Nor does it allow you to see just how many stairs there are to climb up and then down over the dune to the beach.
(But rest assured - it's a lot. It feels like at least 9,000. Especially when you're carrying your kids the whole time. Yes, we did that because we're crazy, but not as crazy as we were the time we carried them up after a big snowstorm and all those stairs were coated with ice.)

All the work is totally worth the payoff - the view. It is hands down my favorite place in Holland, and I'm pretty sure it's the most amazing view of Lake Michigan in the city. You feel like you're on top the planet, and it's exhilarating. 

Yesterday felt like we really lived every second, and I went to bed wishing every day could feel like that.  

I think the secret of it is in just doing. Just go. Get out of the house, get out of the comfort zone. Turn off the phone, turn off the computer. Don't be afraid to go somewhere unfamiliar. Tackle a challenge that you're pretty sure you can't do, and then relish the thrill of proving to yourself you can.

Maybe that sounds random and ridiculous (it probably is, I'm tired) but those are things that are becoming more and more important to me.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Frederik Meijer Gardes [Part 1]

We woke up to more winter weather last Saturday morning - including (yes, ugh) snow. So depressing - this has truly been the longest winter/latest-to-arrive spring ever. (Luckily this isn't typical for west Michigan. From what I've gathered from locals this has been an abnormally cold, wet spring. What a relief, because I don't think I could handle this every year!)

We decided to take the kids to the Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, because they have a huge tropical plant conservatory that they keep at 80F degrees, and it just so happens that their butterfly exhibit is going on right now. Nothing sounded better to me than walking around in an artificial summery tropical paradise, filled with thousands of butterflies!

What follows is a lot of pictures (sorry.) Everything was so pretty, I went just a little shutter-crazy.